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Texas Tech Public Art: Will Rogers and Soapsuds

a graphic of Will Rogers and Soupsuds statue
Graphic by Adrian Gutierrez

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Whether you’re a Lubbock local, Texas Tech Alumni, current student, or just passing through. When one exits University Avenue onto Broadway, one of the first pieces of art you come across is Will Rogers and Soapsuds titled Into the Sunset. The statue is arguably one of the most prolific pieces of art in the Lubbock community. With Texas Tech being a big part of that, it represents both the University and Lubbock community.

About

Amon G. Carter dedicated the statue to Will Rogers and his noble stead, Soapsuds. Carter was a close friend of Rogers. The reason for leaving it with the University is that Carter thought the memorial represented both the tradition and scenery of West Texas. Which included both the University and the Lubbock community.


Standing at 9’11” and weighing 3,200 pounds, the statue is nearly 10 feet tall. At the time of installation, $25,000 was the estimated cost. Now, with it’s historic significantance, it is valued much more. The bottom of the statue, which is supposed to represent the ground, reads “Lovable Old Will Rogers on his favorite horse, ‘Soapsuds,’ riding into the Western sunset.”. With its size, it is almost immediately visible when you enter campus. And is symbolic of the University that carries a long history along with it.

The horse’s location right before the memorial circle is relevant. As one enters the Texas Tech Campus, Soapsuds and Will Rogers can be seen. Initially, when the memorial was placed on campus the posterior end of the horse was faced towards the downtown area. Representing that he was riding off into the sunset. Eventually, this became an issue because the first thing guests would see as they enter campus is Soapsuds rear end.

Eventually to solve the problem, the statue was turned 23 degrees to the east. Now the horse’s posterior facing in a different direction had meaning since it now faced the school’s rival at the time, Texas A&M. Now meaning Soapsuds and Will Rogers face towards the campus with the posterior facing the rival school.

Will Rogers and Soapsuds TTU Traditions

One of the most followed traditions associated with Soapsuds’ and Will Rogers is the wrapping of the memorial in red streamers made out of red crepe paper. The Saddle Tramps wrap the statue before each home game. The Saddle Tramps is a student organization that helps keep traditions alive at Texas Tech.

If you’re ever in Lubbock or around the Texas Tech University Campus make sure to take a trip down Broadway and check out one of the most iconic Lubbock pieces of art.

For more Campus Live art articles click here!

For more information on Will Rogers and Soapsuds click here!

Written by Campus Live Employee Trinity Porter

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